Mumbai Underground: A different loyalty

A different loyalty AS with politicians, even public loos can change loyalties post electoral victories. This is not just any public toilet but an air-conditioned one on the Western Express Highway at Kandivali that was inaugurated by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray himself in January last year. The swanky toilet was commissioned by former […]

Mumbai | Published: April 13, 2015 1:16:40 am

A different loyalty

AS with politicians, even public loos can change loyalties post electoral victories. This is not just any public toilet but an air-conditioned one on the Western Express Highway at Kandivali that was inaugurated by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray himself in January last year. The swanky toilet was commissioned by former MNS MLA Pravin Darekar who defected to BJP after he lost the assembly elections.The public toilet, which has a sofa set costing over Rs 2.5 lakh, a 42-inch LCD TV, and air conditioners that cost over Rs 2 lakh, used to display pictures of Raj Thackeray and other MNS leaders including Darekar’s outside and now has pictures of PM Narendra Modi, local BJP leader and MP Gopal Shetty. Spread across a 3,000 sq ft area, the toilet has separate cubicles for men and women, as well as provisions for bathing. There is a changing room as well. However, people who visit the loo are of the opinion that whether MNS or BJP they get an AC restroom on a highway in this scorching heat is more important.

Language perils

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has openly admitted in the house that his Marathi is not exactly top notch. “I am from Nagpur,” he said. “The way we talk there is very different. If I speak the same way here you all will be stunned,” Fadnavis had said. However, with his party in coalition with the Shiv Sena, which proclaims itself as the guardian of Marathi language, culture and people, the chief minister has to often watch his words.Especially before senior Shiv Sena leader Diwakar Raote, who is said to be extremely particular about the use of Marathi in official business. Whenever Raote was in the house, Fadnavis often halted in his long speeches, consulting the Shiv Sena minister about Marathi words for terms such as Special Economic Zone (SEZ) or Transfer of Development Rights.
test of patience

On a couple of occasions recently, patience of the judges was tested. Two judges, known for being calm and composed, tried being tolerant and accommodating, but the aggression shown by a litigant rubbed them the wrong way. In the first case, the litigant claimed he was aggrieved by the conduct of the state authorities. He got aggressive and the judges were left with no option but to pass an order and direct the police to get him out of the court premises. The dejected man left yelling. In the second instance, it turned to be a lawyer who annoyed the judges. It was a case where the court had already passed an order against him. The man and his lawyer, however, sought the court to hear their grievances again. The judges listened patiently until they stumbled upon something in the plea which according to them was an allegation against the judges itself. An irate bench reprimanded the lawyer and even asked him not to appear them ever again.

An Apple for all

According to senior police officers, in a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) level crime meeting with then joint commissioner of police (crime) Sadanad Date, a suggestion to switch to iPhones for all IPS officers in the city was proposed. The primary reasons cited by cyber experts in the force was to counter viruses and safeguard the officers’ phones from any possible attacks. Six months since the meeting, a majority of officers in the city have already switched to Apple devices because of the drawbacks discussed in the Android system that evening.

Keeping up with news

Every evening, a select few policemen in the police headquarters compound can be seen poring over the contents of a sheet of paper and diligently writing something on another page. A passerby might dismiss these toiling policemen as those working on some sort of paperwork or the other, like almost all of their colleagues. However, what these policemen actually do is go through the content transcribed from Marathi television news bulletins and translate it into English for perusal of the few non-Maharashtrian officers among the police brass. The Mumbai police, like all of its counterparts, makes it a point to keep an eye on what is being reported in the television media through the day, and it falls to a few good men (good with Marathi, that is) to go over transcripts of tickers on TV channels and translate it for their non-Marathi speaking superiors.

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